PM insists rice pledging scheme will not incur losses

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BANGKOK, Oct 9 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reassured the public on Tuesday that the government’s rice pledging scheme would not cause further losses but will benefit farmers.

The premier emphasised that her government did sell rice through government-to-government deals to other countries including some ASEAN countries. Initially, more than 8 million tonnes of rice have been delivered. The details however could not be disclosed.

The export figures and all income will be concluded after the end of the scheme next year. She affirmed that the rice pledging scheme will definitely not have more losses than last year.

Regarding the Constitution Court to rule on a petition by academics from the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) asking the court to put a brake on the government’s rice support programme, Ms Yingluck said the government works for the benefit of farmers and hoped that the court will take into account the aim of the project.

The premier said she is prepared to explain as requested by MPs and senators to a non-voting parliamentary session to discuss the issue.

Ms Yingluck said she ordered in-depth operation to prevent corruption in the processes and probes on suspicious cases.

Government spokeswoman Sansanee Nakpong said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung reported to cabinet the corruption probe result involving some officials in the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) incurring a loss of more than 300 million baht. No politician was found to be involved.

Following criticism of the government’s 2012-2013 rice pledging scheme by many parties, Ms Sansanee said the prime minister assigned deputy prime minister Chalerm to meet with the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-Operatives and the Warehouse Organisation on Monday to press ahead with the probe of 25 corruption cases with damage estimated at 307 million baht.